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It wasn't until I was much older that I stumbled upon the association with being gay. If anything, it has always seemed closer to "effeminate" in meaning to me, although when it comes to insults those two qualities are linked up pretty frequently.
Carrot sees the best in everyone. Vetinari, by contrast, sees people precisely as they are. He doesn't appeal to their better natures. He just appeals to their natures.
Just look at the difference between how Vetinari and Carrot handled the situation in Jingo. Carrot was exceedingly effective leader, and displayed a variety of very rare virtues that are admirable in any leader. But Vetinari managed to wrap the situation up with very minimal loss of life and no damage done to Ankh Morpork. And the way he did it is something that would never have occurred to Carrot to even try.
Carrot can make water run uphill. Vetinari looks at the geography and finds the spot where if things were tweaked just a little bit, the river would flow down a different path entirely. Reality bends around Carrot slightly and makes some things that seem like they should be impossible become possible. Vetinari works more of a social judo and pivots just enough to allow the existing momentum of events to carry things along in the direction he prefers them to go.
Carrot's ability in this respect is remarkable, but it's a brute force approach, even if, in this case, it's relying on the strength of his character rather than his physical strength. Inevitably, he runs into situations that are too weighty even for him to force into another direction. Vetinari's method uses the weight of events instead of resisting them, so he winds up getting the best possible outcome in any situation regardless of who or what is lined up against him.
If Carrot was king when Leshp rose out of the sea and Vetinari wasn't in the picture, I think there is a very strong chance everyone would be dead by the end of Jingo.